Mount Holly Cemetery Sexton Steve Adams could hardly keep his composure today while talking about vandalism at the cemetery overnight that left several irreplaceable marble statutes severely damaged.
Adams said he discovered the vandalism this morning when he arrived at the cemetery around 6:45 a.m. The monuments damaged included three Italian marble statutes — including a large and elaborate statue of a “mourner” and lifelike Italian marble statutes of two little girls — along with two crosses, and several smaller monuments. Adams said the statues, in particular, were heavily damaged, to the point of being “broken up,” after being pushed off the bases and smashed. All three were in the Basham family plot.
Adams said that American and Arkansas flags were also pulled down from the flagpole and shredded, and that several iron grave markers were pulled up, with the vandal or vandals using the markers to further damage gravestones and monuments throughout the cemetery.
Adams said that while there have been some thefts at the cemetery — one of the statues of the little girls was stolen over a decade ago and later recovered near the Governor’s mansion — he said this is the first act of large-scale vandalism he’s seen in his time as sexton there. He said that attempts to restore the damage will be made, but added that because the cemetery knows of no living members of the Basham family, the cost for attempting to restore the three statues will likely fall to the cemetery.
The vandalism comes at a particularly bad time, as their annual Spring Picnic fundraiser is this Sunday. Tickets for that event are still available.
Adams wouldn’t discuss on the record any evidence recovered at the scene, or the ongoing police investigation. Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to call the Little Rock Police Department.
UPDATE: A source close to the cemetery said there were 10 monuments damaged, in places scattered throughout the cemetery. The metal markers used to damage some of the monuments were Confederate States of America markers, the source said. Also, at the base of the flagpole were a pair of boxer shorts. The vandals may have been thinking they’d hoist them up the pole, but the mechanism to raise the flags was damaged.